Article by Connor Behrens
Director Jon Watts’ latest film, “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel character of the same name.
Energized by his time with the Avengers in “Captain America: Civil War,” teenage Peter Parker returns back to his “normal” life with Aunt May. Being watched by his mentor Tony Stark, Peter quickly takes on his secret identity as New York’s Spider-Man. But trying to return to his normal routine of high school becomes difficult as he grows weary to prove himself as more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter is soon faced with putting his strength and resolve as a superhero to battle when a criminal known as Vulture arises to jeopardize everything Peter stands for.
For being the seventh film to feature the titular character, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” oddly feels fresh. While it might be due to the setting of Spidey firmly planted in the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film does a better job at giving audiences an original and fun (although fluff at times) reimaging of the popular superhero than recent past attempts.
The previously mentioned addition of Spider-Man in the MCU is the most startling difference when thinking of past films. Seeing Peter interact with Iron Man and numerous references to Avengers characters creates a unique experience for audiences. If “The Amazing Spider-Man” films tried to focus on Peter’s backstory and his battle to balance his love life with his work as a hero, “Homecoming” tries to focus less on what audiences have seen and more on what hasn’t been touched on. In this case, that is a coming-of-age story.
To be fair, a coming-of-age story isn’t quite rare. However, when you pair that concept with a superhero film, the result is not only interesting but also compelling. Tom Holland exceeds in the role through this lens. Holland plays to the emotions of the audience. He is wide-eyed, starstruck and happy to just be here. While he has quite a bit to do before he becomes the definitive Spider-Man on film, the young actor is on the right track with his portrayal. It is classic Peter Parker. He’s smart with just the right amount of playful cockiness. He’s witty, but he would never dare be rude or inconsiderate.
Facing off against Holland is the impeccable Michael Keaton. Many fans feel as if the MCU has been lacking in the villain department. Aside from Loki, Marvel has had a shaky track record for antagonists. Keaton puts this to a stop with his relatable and chilling performance of Vulture. The film does a great job at giving Keaton’s character reasoning behind his madness. He is a workingman who has consistently been overshadowed by those who are richer and more powerful in society. There’s a specific scene where Keaton’s delivery is everything you would want from the former Batman.
However, there are times where the movie feels similar to the “Iron Man” films. These moments are most prominent when Peter plays with his suit upgrades. Strangely, the film is its strongest when Peter is left to himself and not sharing a scene with an Avenger.
Overall, while “Spider-Man: Homecoming” does not match the brilliance of Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2” the film is still a rousing success, full of heart and angst.